Sunday, July 08, 2007

So Much for Slow Blogging

It's getting cloudy here in London, and it might rain. Most of the conference folks have gone to the pub, I don't know, maybe I'll follow after a while. We just had an exhausting workshop, there were lots of good ideas, lots of questions and suggestions; people are talking about where this science will go next, and reviewing where it's been in the last ten years.

Beautiful statement by Montgomery County Board of Education member Pat O'Neill in this morning's Washington Post. I don't know about you, but I'm still feeling a little beat up, a little worn out by it all, but this really has been a fight worth fighting.

Here's what Pat wrote:
For nearly five years the Montgomery County Board of Education has been working to update the county's eighth- and 10th-grade health education curriculum to include important information that our teenagers need to know in today's world. Namely, that homosexuality exists and that all people deserve to be treated with respect regardless of their sexual orientation. In 10th grade, we created a new lesson that stresses the importance of abstinence and provides important safety information for teens who choose to be sexually active. These lessons are the right thing to do for our children and address these topics in a responsible way.

Last week, the Maryland State Board of Education upheld its plan to add these new lessons, which were developed by expert curriculum writers under the guidance of respected pediatricians, to the curriculum this fall. After a thorough analysis, the state board rejected each and every legal argument raised by a few opponents of this curriculum. I hope that this latest legal victory for Montgomery County Public Schools will bring to a close the disruptive efforts of a few, so that we can concentrate on education instead of litigation. Unfortunately, this shrill minority has attempted to derail the curriculum and create discord across the community through misinformation via direct mail and telemarketing and through legal challenges. Their efforts have not won over many supporters.

I believe that most Montgomery County parents support this curriculum, and the evidence from the field test of the new lessons this spring supports that. In the six schools that tested the new lessons, an overwhelming 91 percent of the eligible students participated, and few parents raised objections to the lessons.

It is important to point out that parents who don't want their children to participate in these lessons can choose for their children to receive alternative health lessons. In addition, every parent has the opportunity to review the lessons at parent information meetings before they make the decision for their children.

I want our schools to be a welcoming place for all students regardless of their sexual orientation. This curriculum teaches respect, tolerance and empathy for everyone. It is a truly 21st-century health education curriculum for our 21st-century students.

-- Patricia B. O'Neill


The writer is a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education.
Tolerance Wins in Maryland

Thank you, Pat. When the CRC threatened to sue back in January, she said "See ya in court." Not exactly willing to back down from a fight, that one.

She made a great speech at the June 12th meeting, too, and we want to transcribe it and post it, but the video at MCPS is bad. We'll get it to you as soon as we can get a clean copy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, this shrill minority has attempted to derail the curriculum and create discord across the community through misinformation via direct mail and telemarketing and through legal challenges."

Yes, as Jim says, a beautiful statement. A real beaut of spin from a politician who was once highly embarrassed to have approved the unconstitutional Fishback revisions without reading them.

Thank goodness TTF was around to deflect attention from the shenanigans of the Board. They might have been held accountable otherwise.

Strange how O'Neill's phrases here almost plagiarize TTF ramblings. Is that because she reads the blog or is that because she wrote it?

When will we hear the real story behind TTF's formation?

July 09, 2007 7:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"important information that our teenagers need to know in today's world. Namely, that homosexuality exists"

Thanks, Patricia. Kids probably had no idea since the media and entertainment industry seems determined to hide this from them. MCPS to the rescue!

"and that all people deserve to be treated with respect regardless of their sexual orientation"

When are they going to be taught three special classes on each and every other thing that all people deserve to be treated with respect regardless of?

How about a class teaching that school is not the place to be discussing your personal sexual fantasies? Modesty and discretion used to be considered ways to respect others.

Now, students will be taught that if they feel gay, it's because they were born that way and they have no choice but to stay that way. Furthermore, if they tell everyone about it, they will experience a special sense of joy. Sounds like cult indoctrination. Sounds like some people don't want anyone to think they can leave their club.

News flash: research indicates that homosexuality is not an innate predetermination. O'Neill, not much of a scientist but a political fatcat, put that in personally. And she's not embarrassed about it.

July 09, 2007 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When will we hear the real story behind TTF's formation?"

I guess you haven't been reading here long. The formation of TTF was documented a number of times on this blog. Here's one:

Since your statement reflects some unfounded paranoia, here's something concrete for you to worry about, a change in the opinion of your fellow citizens:

Good thing Cheney's not a member of the executive branch, he'd be almost out of job... Oh, wait (

* 45% favor "the US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush;" 46% oppose.
* 54% favor "US House of Representatives beginning impeachment proceedings against Vice President Dick Cheney;" 40% oppose.

For context (

Aug-Sept 1998 (Before Impeachment)
* Average support for impeachment and removal (10 polls): 26%
* Average support for hearings (6 polls): 36%

More here (

Also, for a move that might have been rationalized as good for "shoring up the base," commuting Libby's sentence isn't that popular:

Approve Disapprove Undecided
Democrats (38%) 13% 76% 11%
Republicans (29%) 50% 47% 3%
Independents (33%) 19% 80% 1%

I find it especially interesting that the decision is even more unpopular with independents. Maybe some Dems just feel sorry for Scooter, what with the bleeding hearts and all...

July 09, 2007 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, TB. That was one of the many posts where Jim claimed they formed the group after attending a CRC informational meeting out of curiosity.

Truth is they were going ballistic and planning a blog weeks before that.

Here's an interesting item:

"CRAWFORD, Texas (July 9) - Cindy Sheehan, the slain soldier's mother whose attacks on President Bush made her a darling of the anti-war movement, has a new target: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Sheehan, who announced in late May that she was departing the peace movement, said she decided to run against Pelosi unless the congresswoman moves to oust Bush in the next two weeks.

"I think all politicians should be held accountable," Sheehan told The Associated Press on Sunday. "Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership. We hired them to bring an end to the war."

Sheehan said she will run as an independent against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 if Pelosi does not file articles of impeachment against Bush by July 23."

You will find as the election approaches, the debate will be focused more realistically. People thought at this point in the last election that Bush was going to lose because of Iraq. Then, he started to debate Kerry and everything turned around.

Read Nathan Scharansky's (sp?) op-ed piece in the Wash Post yesterday. The obvious truth is that pulling out of Iraq, as Democrats suggest, was not be in the interests of America or Iraq.

July 09, 2007 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Anon.

Stay out of my bedroom.


July 09, 2007 3:26 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Anonymous said "How about a class teaching that school is not the place to be discussing your personal sexual fantasies? Modesty and discretion used to be considered ways to respect others.".

Trouble is anonymous heterosexuals like you don't practice what you preach. Whenever you feel like it you bring up the topic of your girlfriends, wives, or women you're attracted to and yet when gays or lesbians do the same you bitch that they shouldn't be discussing personal "sexual" fantasies. Somehow the mere mention of who we're attracted to or in love with is supposed to be out of bounds for us, but not for you. Hypocrite.

Anonymous said "News flash: research indicates that homosexuality is not an innate predetermination".

BS, there's no such research. All the research points to being gay as being innate and biologically caused. For example mothers with same chromosone deactivation are far more likely to have gay sons than mothers without it. There's no way that would happen if it weren't innate.

July 09, 2007 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Hey, Jim, if you get to Boots- can you buy me a mint lip salve?

GA - We formed just like the ZOG - Dr. Beyer and I used the book of our people- the Protocols -to develop the format.

GA, admit it- you are a freeper, right?

July 09, 2007 9:25 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I apologize for posting all of this here, but it should be read. This is an email from PFOX, quoting an apparently right-wing Catholic magazine named New Oxford review.

They seem to suggest several things:
1)it was better when gays were in the closet;
2)Catholics should not in fact "Hate the sin but love the sinner", but should in fact hate gay people;
3)suggesting that people use the word "fag" when they see fit;
4)and just a whole variety of other amazing things;

Is this what PFOX is suggesting students be taught in our public schools? Regina Griggs et al complain repeatedly that the email sent to them by the teacher from Wooton is discriminatory hate speech, but then send out stuff like this to their whole email list. I'm just amazed. I hope to hear what more thoughtful minds say about this. I'm just shocked, and a little speechless (unusual for me).


"How we should respond to homosexuals:"

"Rebuke Them Sharply"

by New Oxford Review (NOR): May 2003

We (at New Oxford Review magazine) received a letter from Robert Clark
of Wilmington, Delaware. It is brief, but raises an interesting issue,
namely, the maxim "Hate the sin but love the sinner." Appealing to the
maxim, Mr. Clark questions our use of the word "fag." We have used that
word only once (Jul.-Aug. 2002, p. 14) in our over 26-year history. In
our November 2002 issue, we printed two letters of complaint, which we
answered. And in our January 2003 issue, we printed two more letters
of complaint, which we answered.

Now comes Mr. Clark's letter. Here it is:

Hate the sin but love the sinner. Catholics are taught this true but
not obvious rule and are required to live by it - however difficult it
may be for them. "Name-calling" invariably violates this rule because an
emotionally loaded name doesn't clearly distinguish between the sin and
the sinner. Calling a homosexual a "fag" has the effect of
indiscriminately condemning both the sin and the sinner - and any attempt to
re-define the word to refer only to the sin is not likely to succeed.

The editors of the NOR would do well to continue to teach homosexuals
that they have freely chosen to violate God's law and are thereby living
in a state of mortal sin. If they do not repent and reform, then they
will surely spend their eternity in Hell. This is a stronger and more
constructive message than calling them "fags." Bad names will only make
homosexuals angry and defiant. The offer of God's forgiveness and love
may encourage at least some of them to mend their ways.

The editors should make it very clear that they hate homosexual acts
because they violate God's law, but that they love homosexuals as God's
fellow creatures - as their Catholic faith requires.

Mr. Clark's letter goes to the heart of the Christian faith and calls
for extensive consideration.

We are happy to go on record that we do indeed hate homosexual acts and
we do indeed love homosexuals as God's fellow creatures. The question
is: What does it mean to love homosexuals?

In the days when homosexuals were in the closet, loving homosexuals was
as uncomplicated as loving your neighbor. Even if you had your
suspicions about So-and-So, you didn't know for sure. In those days ignorance
was indeed bliss. But now legions of homosexuals are out of the closet
and in our face, proudly proclaiming who they are and what they do. (As
for what they do, a liberal commentator recently defended "gays," but
demurred a bit by asking, what about the "yuck factor"?) So nowadays
there's little ignorance, and thus little bliss. The ball is now in our
court, and we're being challenged as to how we will respond.

Imagine a common situation from many decades ago: Your unmarried
30-year-old son has a roommate (male, of course). Your son asks if he may
bring his roommate home for Christmas dinner. No problem. Of course!

Now imagine a not uncommon situation from today: Your unmarried son of
30, who has declared himself "gay," has a partner and wants to bring
him home for Christmas dinner. If you say fine, you're giving (at least
tacit) approval to their "domestic partnership," which is exactly what
your son and his partner want. If you say no, you'll be accused by
family and friends - not to mention the culture in general - of not loving
your son, of being "mean."

The correct response is that of tough love. Here's how we'd respond:
"Son, we love you, but we will not give our approval to a way of life for
which you will likely have Hell to pay, literally. We'd love to have
you come home for Christmas dinner, but without your partner. Moreover,
you have brothers and sisters, and it is our responsibility to teach
them, not only with words but with deeds, the difference between right
and wrong."

Let's face it, few Catholics today would say that. Most Catholic
parents would say yes to their son's request. Imagine, further, that there's
a reactionary Catholic relative who questions the parents as to why
they'd allow their son's homosexual "lover" to come home with him for
Christmas dinner. What would the parents say? At best, that old saw would
fall from their lips: "We hate the sin but love the sinner."

Ah, but how much do they hate the sin? They have let a crucial
"teachable moment" pass by. Will they ever tell their son that he's on the road
to Hell? Probably not. Why not? Perhaps because it's been drummed into
them by their pastor that love conquers all. It doesn't.

And how much do they love the sinner? They have taken the easy out,
only interested in enjoying their son's company in the here-and-now,
whereas true love - which in this case requires tough love - is one where
they want to enjoy their son's company forever in Heaven.

So where did that old maxim - "Hate the sin but love the sinner" - come
from? It's not in the Bible. If anything, quite the contrary. The
Bible doesn't distinguish between sin and sinner. Jesus said, "the evil man
brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart" (Lk. 6:45).
In short, sins are committed by sinners, but many Catholics cannot
grasp that, even though it's true by definition.

Does God distinguish between sin and sinner? Well, consider this from
the Wisdom of Solomon (14:9): "For equally hateful to God are the
ungodly man and his ungodliness...."

Does God actually hate sinners? It would seem so: "The Most High
Himself hates sinners, and upon the wicked he takes vengeance" (Sir. 12:6,
also see Ps. 5:5-6). But shouldn't we feel compassion for flagrant
sinners? That would be our inclination, but then the Word of the Lord says
this: "The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance; he shall
wash his feet in the blood of the wicked..." (Ps. 58:10). Admittedly, we
find this hard to accept or even fathom.

We may want to distinguish the sin from the sinner, but we all know
that, especially in the final analysis, God does not. God doesn't just
send sin to Hell. He sends sinners (together with their unrepented sin) to
Hell. And it's the final analysis that counts most.

If God hates sin and sinners, why is it said that God is love? Because
the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. God is not
indifferent. He is a jealous God, and when His love is spurned it turns to
wrath. God's love is not permissive or unconditional ("I love those who
love me" [Prov. 8:17]). While we are commanded to forgive those who
trespass against us, God is not so bound. God does not forgive those who
refuse to repent (see Pope John Paul II's encyclical Dominum et
Vivificantem, nos. 46-48).

We are commanded to love our enemies, and, yes, we should hate the sin
but love the sinner. But again, what does it mean to love the sinner?
Galatians 5:14 says, "All the law is fulfilled in one word: Thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself." But 1 Corinthians 16:12 says, "If any man
love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema [other
translations say let him be outcast or accursed, or let a curse be on him]...." So
who loves the Lord? Jesus says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments"
(Jn. 14:15). Active homosexuals do not keep the commandments of the
Lord and His Church and therefore - regardless of what they may claim -
do not love the Lord. Shall they then be anathematized and cast out? In
certain cases, yes, but there are other ways of responding to an
unrepentant sinner, namely rebuking or shaming, as we shall see.

Curiously, we've seen lots of evidence that homosexual activists and
their allies repudiate the "hate the sin but love the sinner" adage. For
example, Tom Mitchell wrote a letter in the National Catholic Reporter
(Dec. 24, 1999) wherein he replied to a previous letter from James
Loewe who had said that the Magisterium teaches that the homosexual
condition is "objectively disordered" and that homosexual acts are
"intrinsically evil," but that homosexual persons are not considered "objectively
disordered" or "intrinsically evil." Mitchell responded: "Hogwash. Of
course the terms apply to persons. The 'homosexual condition' and
homosexual acts do not exist in the abstract; they only exist as the
condition and behaviors of actual persons. The statements Mr. Loewe attributes
to the 'magisterium' can only mean that...all gay and lesbian persons
are sick and that the sexual behaviors they actually carry out are evil.
How do we treat sick people?... We avoid their company so as not to be
infected with their disease.... How do we treat people whose behavior
is evil?... We prevent our children and loved ones from being in
contact with them; we hold them in contempt and shun them."

Or as Peter Kreeft has said from an opposite point of view: "Many
sinners explicitly argue that if you hate their sin, you hate them. For some
reason, I have never heard this argument about anything except sexual
sin, usually sodomy. I do not understand why it is only certain
apologists for this sin who so identify their whole selves with their
'lifestyle' that they refuse even to distinguish their very selves from their
sins. It is a terrifying sort of identification, of course, no matter
what the sin, for that is almost exactly the definition of Hell."

If you have been paying attention to the news, you know that in many
places, from certain U.S. public schools all the way to Sweden, there are
efforts - often successful - to punish anyone who engages in "hate
speech" against homosexuals, and included in the definition of hate speech
is any expression of moral disapproval of homosexual acts. Why?
Because the homosexual lobby worldwide insists that to hate what they do is
to hate them as persons.

Homosexual activists are telling us that if we claim to love them, then
we must love their "orientation" and their "lifestyle." And there is
an uncanny logic to this. Jesus said, "Every good tree bears good fruit,
but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor
can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good
fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you
will know them" (Mt. 7:17-20). Active homosexuals bear bad fruit;
therefore they are bad. (Yes, really!) However, homosexuals are trying to
convince us that we can only regard them as good if we recognize that
their fruits are good. But we cannot do that. Increasingly, we're in a
bind. The problem with the "hate the sin but love the sinner" maxim is
that it's too pat. A crucial ingredient is left out, namely, that sin is
evil and so therefore is the sinner. How do we love any flagrant sinner
without being "infected with their disease," as Mitchell put it - or,
more accurately, without infecting our children, without causing the
weaker brother to stumble (Rom. 14:21), and without giving approval to
both the sin and the sinner? It's not easy. Chesterton said that morality,
like art, consists in drawing the line somewhere. Many Catholics today
don't want to draw any line. But the line must be drawn, and that
requires tough love.

Mr. Clark says: "If they [homosexuals] do not repent and reform, then
they will surely spend their eternity in Hell. This is a stronger and
more constructive message than calling them 'fags.'" Yes, it is more
constructive, and also more offensive. Mr. Clark says that "bad names will
only make homosexuals angry and defiant." But telling homosexuals that
if they don't repent and reform that they'll go to Hell will make them
much more angry and defiant.

Yes, there are times when Hell should be spoken of. And, as we
explained in the January 2003 issue (pp. 8-9), there are times when using a
word that shames is called for, and "fag" is such a word. Now, we do not
advocate going up to a homosexual and yelling, "Fag!" What's the point?
On the other hand, the word "fag" should not be taken out of common
parlance, for, as we explained in our November 2002 issue (pp. 6-7), it is
etymologically rich and highly descriptive. Moreover, to make use of
the word "fag" is to assert a social stigma. If we don't insist on our
social stigmas, the cultural liberals will insist on theirs, calling us
"bigots" and "homophobes." Social stigmas happen--they're inevitable.
The only question is: Whose social stigmas will prevail? Yes, "fag" is
offensive, but so what? Jesus called the Pharisees "hypocrites,"
"fools," a "brood of vipers," and "sons of Hell" (Mt. 23). He was not
squeamish. Should we be? Were the Pharisees offended -- were they angry and
defiant? Darn right they were!

If, as Mr. Clark contends, we should not use words that offend, that
shame, then we must be consistent. We must not call a sex worker a
"whore," a priest who sexually abuses boys a "pervert," or an abortion
provider an "agent of the Culture of Death" (Pope John Paul II is in
egregious violation here), etc.

Of notorious sinners, St. Paul said, "Rebuke them sharply..."; he even
gave us examples, calling them "evil beasts" and "lazy gluttons" (Ti.
1:12-13; he also called them "dogs" [Phil. 3:2]). Why did Paul resort to
"name-calling" - or, as the Navarre Bible Commentary puts it, to
"ridicule"? To get their attention so as to get them to change their ways.
Is Paul advocating a kind of hate speech? No. Listen to St. Augustine:
"Hatred may use fair words and love may sound harsh.... Thus we may see
hatred speaking softly and charity prosecuting; but neither soft
speeches nor harsh reproofs are what you have to consider. Look for the
spring. Search out the root from which they proceed. The fair words of the
one are designed for deceiving, the prosecution of the other is aimed at

It has been said that he who controls the language controls the
culture. Back when the word "fag" was in common parlance, Christians
controlled the culture. More recently, it has been insisted that euphemisms
(such as "gay") be used, and now secularists control our culture.

The secularists have imposed a fastidious linguistic puritanism. Shall
we go gently into that dark night, or shall we resist the dying of the
light? Linguistic pacifists always lose.

So where did "Hate the sin but love the sinner" come from? It came from
a letter written by St. Augustine (according to our friend Erven
Park), and the letter pertains to discipline to be meted out to certain
misbehaving nuns:

When convicted of the fault, it is her duty to submit to the corrective
discipline.... If she refuse to submit to this, and does not go away
from you of her own accord, let her be expelled from your society. For
this is not done cruelly but mercifully, to protect very many from
perishing through infection of the plague with which one has been stricken.
Moreover, what I have now said in regard to abstaining from wanton
looks should be carefully observed, with due love for the persons and
hatred of the sin, in observing, forbidding, reporting, reproving, and
punishing all other faults.

As anyone can see, the meaning of "Hate the sin but love the sinner"
has almost been inverted in the 20th and 21st centuries. Now it means
indulging the sinner, not offending him, and certainly not punishing him.
But loving the sinner, according to Augustine, includes such strong
medicine as expelling the sinner as well as milder forms such as reproving
-- e.g., shaming.

July 10, 2007 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon

I am not shocked. I have never thought PFOX or CRC are anything but a bunch of hateful bigots. I am not one of the more thoughtful writers here -I am of the opinion that people who subscribe to the ideas put forth by CRC and PFOX are not going to listen or be changed. I will continue to believe that they are haters couching their hate in other words and misusing religion to claim otherwise.

July 10, 2007 8:47 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Heaven and hell . . .oh, my.

That's why we have separation of church and state.

July 10, 2007 9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If one truly believes the theology set forth in the New Oxford Review piece, then the prescriptions set forth there surely follow.

The question here is whether those who accept the New Oxford Review version of theology are bigots?

By their own lights, they are not bigots, any more than a similar "hard line" toward murderers would constitute bigotry.

But if people use the cloak of theology to justify their free-standing antipathy toward gay people -- an antipathy they would have regardless of the theological construct -- then it would be hard to argue that that such people are not garden variety bigots, in this day and age.

My sense is that there are many people who simply use theology as the cloak for their bigotry. But there probably are others for whom theology is their principal motivating factor. The problem in public discourse is that it is difficult to sort out who falls into which category. Moreover, there is also probably somewhat of a continuum here.

That is why I am pretty certain that I have never publically accused particular CRC or PFOX people of bigotry. (Neither has Pat O'Neill.) I believe they are wrong and hurtful in their outlook and, all too often, in their tactics. Is any particular person a bigot or simply a prisoner of a particular theology? I cannot look into that person's heart and know the answer to that question. I can only ask them to consider whether they are really scriptural literalists and to look into their own hearts and to find what is truly godly.

July 10, 2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Pat O'Neill has accused her opponents of bigotry. Nice try David.

July 10, 2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

A thoughtful analysis, thank you David.


July 10, 2007 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Gazette item you link is a letter from Ruth Jacobs characterizing Pat's comments at the Board meeting. Ruth's characterization is misleading.

Pat has never said that everyone who opposed the new curriculum is a bigot, although vitriol that has been directed at Board members certainly justifies that characterization. If you go to the 4 hour, 1 minute mark of video of the June 12 meeting (see, you can listen to precisely what Pat said: That the Board had been subjected to “incredibly hostile, belligerent, bullying messages, e-mails, blogs, from people I happen to believe are bigots.”

To the extent that leaders in our community may see CRC and PFOX as bigots -- and I do not know who sent the messages to which Pat refers, nor did she identify any organizations -- all I can say is that CRC/PFOX are reaping what they have sown. Just recall, for example, CRC’s March 2005 public forum. You can hear the speeches at

Pat is undoubtedly correct when she says in her Washington Post piece that the recent State BOE ruling ought to "bring to a close the disruptive efforts of a few," who constitute a "shrill minority [which] has attempted to derail the curriculum and create discord across the community through misinformation via direct mail and telemarketing and through legal challenges."

July 10, 2007 1:08 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I've thought about what David said, and I'm not willing to treat the email PFOX sent out today as "theologically based differences." Jim Crow and Virginia's antimiscegenation laws were ostensibly based on religious differences, as are the statements of Westboro Baptist Church (cf., but they appear to me to be naked hatred and discrimination. I'm not willing to label people who say that the bible opposes same-gender sexual activity as bigots. I am willing to say that people who assert (as New Oxford and by association PFOX did) that LGBT people are "intrinisically evil", and reserve their god-given right to call people "fags" as homophobes. It may be religiously defended, but then it is a bigoted and homophobic religious viewpoint that is used to support hate-speech.

BTW, a young fellow in my Latin seminar, while we were discussing Benedict's revival of the Tridentine mass, seemed to think that it was only controversial to liturgists, setting aside the objections of the ADL. The ADL objects to the use of "perfidus" to refer to jews. Benedict's defender in my class claimed that in the liturgy, "perfidus" means only "people of a different faith." If that's the case, it had a different meaning to the church than in classical times. To the ancients, "perfidus" meant "treacherous" "filled with betrayal." It seems to me that the RC is continuing to call jews "treacherous", obliquely referring to them as betrayers of Jesus.

The Jews in Europe reaped what the RC sowed with its millennia of hate speech. What people say makes a difference to what people do.



July 10, 2007 9:49 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

A bigot is a person who is prejudiced against others, regardless of the reason they got that way. People who oppress gays for religious reasons are by definition bigots. They've prejudged gays because of their religion and don't have a valid reason to oppress them.

A person who oppresses murderers is not a bigot because there is a valid reason to oppose that person's actions - they have harmed others. To suggest that the hard line against gays is no different than a hard line against murderers (and thus not bigotry) is to deny the key difference of someone being harmed or not.

July 11, 2007 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here's the problem with calling self-described religious literalists bigots. While you and I do not see any reason for believing that gay people are hurting anyone by being true to themselves, religious literalists who believe that God opposes all non-heterosexual activity may really believe that they are advancing God's will.

I have no doubt that many of these people simply use religion as a smokescreen, but I suspect that there are those who do not. Fundamentalist religion is viewed as a lifeline for many people who are simply scared of a rapidly changing world that they do not understand and with which they feel they cannot cope. Antipathy toward gay people is part of the package they are presented. If they fear freedom and are grabbing onto the Fundamentalist message to make their time on earth easier to bear and comprehend, then their antipathy may be more a sympton of their desire for certainty than of a free-standing hatred.

I recognize that the result is the same. But I think we need to be sensitive to the differing roots of the fear and hatred in order to deal with the problem effectively.

July 11, 2007 5:39 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

David, I would say to them that to believe without evidence is wrong and the essence of morality is do whatever you want but harm no one, and on that basis murder is immoral, being gay is moral, and oppressing gays is immoral. I don't think it helps to indulge people in their denial of reality.

July 11, 2007 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The linchpin of your response is the Golden Rule. And that is really the basis for all morality.

I have faith in the potential of the human race to become better -- even though much of the evidence suggests otherwise. So I do not dismiss the idea of faith without evidence out of hand.

On the other hand, to believe something that is contrary to the Golden Rule because one has "faith" that God demands the contrary is to choose to believe in a hurtful God. Couched in those terms, I suspect that some people might reconsider their views. At least we should try.

July 11, 2007 10:18 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

"The linchpin of your response is the Golden Rule. And that is really the basis for all morality.".

In this we are in agreement.

July 12, 2007 3:06 PM  

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